Published On: Tue, Jun 10th, 2014

Israel Was Officially Welcomed Into The EU’s Horizon 2020 This Week

Israeli firms, both public and private, now have access to an EU fund with more than $110 billion.

European Union’s Horizon 2020 program

 

Israel formally entered into the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. The agreement grants Israel the same level of access to EU research and innovation as the EU member states, including potentially billions of Euros in funding.

The documents were signed in Israel by the head of the EU delegation to that country, Lars Faaborg-Andersen and Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Sport Yaakov Perry. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the EU Commission’s President José Manuel Barroso also attended the ceremony.

Horizon 2020 is the largest European Union research and Innovation program ever held in the Union’s brief history. It has nearly €80 billion of government funding available over a 7 year period (2014 to 2020), and attracts additional funds from private investment. The program promises breakthroughs, discoveries and world firsts by promoting “great ideas” and moving them “from the lab to the market.”

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship enterprise aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. It is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is most important. The EU states that this approach makes sure new projects get started quickly and achieve results faster.

The EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation will be complemented by additional measures to complete and further develop the European Research Area. These measures are intended to break down barriers in order to “create a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation.”

The membership in Horizon 2020 will expand Israel’s current association with EU research and innovation programs which it has had since 1996. So far both public and private Israeli organizations have been involved in more than 1, 500 projects.

In a speech that he gave at the ceremony, President Barroso said, “Israel is a strong player in research and innovation and for this reason an important partner for the EU to address societal challenges of common concern, such as ageing, food safety, environment protection or cleaner energy, and to strengthen the competitiveness of our industries. I am pleased that we are signing the agreement today since it reflects the mutual importance we attach to cooperation and partnership in research and innovation.”

Minister Peri said, “This is proof of the power of Israeli science and its importance to the future of the State of Israel. Our joining the program is significant news for Israeli science and will bring stronger scientific connections with Europe and to hundreds of generous research grants for researchers in Israel.”

Israel’s acceptance into the program was threatened last year due to EU guidelines that prohibit any money from the fund from being used by institutions, communities or individuals in he disputed areas beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Last November, however, Israel’s’ Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was able to reach an arrangement with EU officials in which Israel agreed to abide by the guidelines without formally acknowledging a limitation on its sovereignty in those areas.

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